Meeting set to discuss school board progress report

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PLEASANTVILLE – The love-hate relationship between the Board of Education and its state-appointed monitor could head in a new direction after next week’s special meeting.

At its regular session Tuesday, Oct. 24, the school board unanimously approved a special meeting with monitor James Riehman to be held 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30 at Pleasantville High School. Riehman, who has been the school board monitor since 2009, is expected to go over details of a recent report he furnished to the board reviewing the progress the school board has made since the state Department of Education mandated monitors in the district in 2007.

Since then, monitors have had veto power over all Board of Education decisions including personnel and finance matters. Riehman earns $2,250 a week from the district for his work as its monitor.

Board President Doris Graves said she requested the special meeting to discuss the issues the board has met and the issues it still has to correct.

“It’s time for us to do what it takes so we don’t need a monitor anymore and give this money back to the children,” Graves said.

Riehman is expected to outline what steps and improvements the board needs to make in order to get the state to decide to recall the monitor.

Without elaborating, Graves said the state initially had 12 to 14 areas of concern, but only four or five issues remain to be addressed.

When the state mandated a monitor for the district, state officials cited issues that included poor record keeping, poor audit reports, and poor test results.

In recent months, the Board of Education and Riehman have butted heads over legal bills after the monitor reversed a board decision and settled an outstanding lawsuit against the district.

Meanwhile, Riehman also withheld payment for duties performed by the school board’s attorney, who continued working on the case after Riehman had agreed to settle it.

In response, the school board decided not to pay for legal bills Riehman incurred while working for the school district.


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